By: Em Perper

Happy New Year, fellow readers! What are your reading resolutions? Mine is to remember reading is supposed to be fun, not competitive. As a bookseller, it’s easy to get swept up in the rush of ARCs, #bookstagram, and comparing new favorites. Teddy Roosevelt was right; comparison is the thief of joy. I aim to reclaim the joy of relaxing with a good book, not rushing to the bottom of my TBR pile. I’ve combined new releases from 1/2 and 1/9 for a big welcome-to-2018 list.

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink (Riverhead/PRH, $28)

You know Daniel Pink from his bestselling books Drive and To Sell is Human. With When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Pink combines psychology, economics, philosophy, and biology to help readers make the most of opportunities in work, school, and relationships. It’s the perfect read to kick off 208. Best of all, you can hear Pink discuss his new book here in Frederick at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center on Thursday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. Buy your tickets here.

Green by Sam Graham-Felsen (PRH, $27)

David is one of the only white kids at his Boston public school, and sixth grade isn’t going well so far. He wants to transfer to a private school, but his hippie parents are more worried in his younger brother’s odd behavior than Dave’s loneliness. What’s a guy to do? Urge the Celtics to victory, try to survive the morning bus ride, and maybe, just maybe, make a friend.

The Boat People by Sharon Bala (Doubleday Books/PRH, $26.95)

The Boat People, a novel of urgent empathy and great power, is about a group of 500 refugees who arrive in Vancouver fleeing the Sri Lankan civil war. One of the refugees is Mahindan, determined to create a new, trauma-free life for himself and his six-year-old boy. Instead, Mahindan and his fellow refugees are forced into a detention center and interrogated as though they are terrorists, not victims. The Boat People is narrated by three people: Mahindan himself; Priya, a lawyer and a second-generation Spri Lankan-Canadian; and Grace, a third-generation Japanese-Canadian responsible for deciding Mahindan’s lot.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, $26)

Named a must-read by Entertainment Weekly, LibraryReads, BookRiot, Bustle, Harper’s Bazaar, and many more, The Immortalists is a fascinating family saga about four siblings who learn the dates of their deaths from a Lower East Side psychic in 1969. The psychic’s predictions will follow Varya, Simon, Klara, and Daniel for the rest of their lives, shaping their relationships, careers, desires, and possibly their destinies.

Gnomon by Nick Harkaway (Knopf Publishing Group/PRH, $28.95)

Imagine a world of perfect democratic transparency, in which citizens and their memories are observed, recorded, and preserved in the name of safety. But the system doesn’t protect everyone; dissident Diana Hunter dies in government custody. The case falls to state inspector Mielikki Nieth, who is assigned to review Hunter’s memories and relationships. In the course of investigation, Neith discovers a secret that will rattle the chains of her perfect society. Charles Yu described Gnomon as “a theme park for the mind—every page you turn brings new delights for the mind and the senses.” It’s a dystopian thriller perfect for fans of Philip K. Dick, Thomas Pynchon, and William Gibson.

The Job of the Wasp by Colin Winnette (Soft Skull Press/IPS, $16.95)

If your perfect novel includes an unreliable narrator, a spooky orphanage, and unexplained murders, look no further than The Job of the Wasp. Our unnamed protagonist can’t seem to stop encountering dead bodies around the orphanage’s campus, but has no idea how they got there. Is it the headmaster? Is it his schoolmates? Or did they die by his hand, repressed by his desperate conscience? You’ll have to read this slow-burning gothic to find out.


  • Watch With Me by Wendell Berry
  • The Lost Plot (Invisible Library #4) by Genevieve Cogman
  • The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
  • Impossible Saints by Clarissa Harwood
  • Peculiar Ground by Lucy Hughes-Hallett
  • The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks
  • Neon in Daylight by Hermione Hoby
  • The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson
  • The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce
  • A Girl in Exile: Requiem for Linda B. by Ismail Kadare
  • The Transition by Luke Kennard
  • In the Shadow of Agatha Christie: Classic Crime Fiction by Forgotten Female Writers: 1850-1917 ed. Leslie S. Klinger
  • This Could Hurt by Jillian Medoff
  • The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer
  • A State of Freedom by Neal Mukherjee
  • The Black Painting by Neil Olson
  • The Afterlives by Thomas Pierce
  • Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro
  • Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys
  • Winter by Ali Smith
  • The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor
  • Mouths Don’t Speak by Katia D. Ulysse
  • The English Wife by Lauren Willig
  • Grist Mill Road by Christopher J. Yates


  • The Meaning of Birds by Simon Barnes
  • Tears of Salt: A Doctor’s Story by Pietro Bartolo
  • Himalaya Bound: One Family’s Quest to Save Their Animals and an Ancient Way of Life by Michael Benanav
  • Treating People Well: The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and Life by Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard
  • Late Essays: 2006-2017 by J.M. Coetzee
  • Tell Me More: Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say by Kelly Corrigan
  • Firestarters: How Innovators, Instigators, and Initiators Can Inspire You to Ignite Your Own Life by Raoul Davis Jr., Kathy Palokoff, and Paul Eder
  • Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
  • Furnishing Eternity: A Father, a Son, a Coffin, and a Measure of Life by David Giffels
  • Bad Jobs and Poor Decisions: Dispatches from the Working Class by J.R. Helton
  • Thriving Through Uncertainty: Moving Beyond Fear of the Unknown and Making Change Work for You by Tama J. Kieves
  • Craeft: An Inquiry Into the Origins and True Meaning of Traditional Crafts by Alex Langlands
  • When to Jump: If the Job You Have Isn’t the Life You Want by Mike Lewis
  • Never Get Angry Again by Dr. David J. Lieberman
  • The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long, Jim Demonakos, and Nate Powell
  • Upcycle!: DIY Furniture and Decor from Unexpected Objects by Sonia Lucano
  • The Better Brain Solution by Steven Masley
  • My Friend Fear: Finding Magic in the Unknown by Meera Lee Patel
  • In the Bonesetter’s Waiting Room by Aarathi Prasad
  • My Russian Grandmother and Her American Vacuum Cleaner: A Family Memoir by Meir Shalev


  • Sea of Strangers by Lang Leav
  • Poems for Love: A New Anthology by Gabby Morgan